Ali Chahrour, the choreographer who opens doors to forgotten worlds. I "Leila's death" we meet Leila's own fate and story. A contemporary performance about the fading Shiite tradition in southern Lebanon where mourning women help people in mourning by socialising, dancing and singing.
Ali Chahrour interweaves Leila's amazing vocals with live music from the musicians. Ali Wood and Abed Kobeissi. Ali supports the story by dancing Leila's, husband, brother and all the sons who have died in war. A sad and life-affirming expedition where religious rituals meet the present and become a vibrant, poignant universal emotional storm.
The show is in Arabic with English subtitles.
About the choreographer
Ali Chahrour lives and works in Beirut and "Leila's death" is the second part of a trilogy about funeral rituals. Leila is Ali's father's cousin and the performance is based on her life and her part in the slowly dying tradition of professional mourners that still exists among Muslim Shiites in southern Lebanon.
The show has toured the US, Canada, France and Germany. But despite its international success, it is Lebanon that Chahrour himself prioritises. Beirut is where he works and premieres his work. "The most important thing for us is to present the work and meet the audience in Lebanon," he says.
One of his concerns is to research and develop what he calls 'local contemporary dance' in Lebanon. By studying Arabic and Shiite history, he found rituals that were full of bodily presence, music, rhythms and movement. He has then chosen to collaborate with people who are not professional dancers, highlighting their stories and ways of moving.